The story of this car starts with a 63 Chevy
truck. How does that work? The truck was
our first massive undertaking. Long story short,
the truck took 4 years to rebuild, and after its
completion, 2 Power
Tours, and a few car shows, we got
kind of bored. There were two options before us
- make the truck fast, which would be an uphill battle
and ruin the drivability of it, or start another
project. Enter the Camaro...
The car had been sitting in a shop for around 10 years
when we got it in July 2005. Its owner had
refused to sell it to a few dirt racers who just
wanted to, in his words, "cut it up." We
told him of our plans (sort of..) and took it
home. Luckily, sitting inside over the years had
kept it virtually rust free.
to the Work
Tear down started as soon as we got home, and the
brainstorming began. We knew we wanted something
that would be quick, but in what way? The
logical choice would have been a simple roll cage,
Caltracs, slicks, and a severe weight reduction
plan. Nobody ever accused us of being logical,
though. After some discussion, we decided that
building half a car (drag only), was not an
option. We wanted to build a car for everything
- drag, autocross, top speed runs, and some road
course time. So we moved to our first giant
question mark: What to do with the suspension?
Armed only with tight pockets, determination, a bit of inspiration from the Formula D Camaro featured in Hot Rod Magazine, and pictures of a few other truck arm installs, we decided that the car would match the truck. This decision would seal the fate of our next 2 years in the shop. What sounded like a great idea turned into an amazing, often overwhelming amount of work doing what we came to refer to as 'stuffing 38 pounds of potatoes into a 5 pound sack.'
Within weeks the parts arrived, and it quickly became apparent why we couldn't find another second gen F-Body with this setup installed - there's just not any room for the traditional coil setup. After much head scratching and a bit of arguing (ok, maybe more than a bit), the proper combination of QA1 coilovers, panhard bar mounts, crossmembers and a fuel cell was concocted.
Naturally, after two years of custom fab in the back of the car, it would have been just silly to stick any of the stock pieces back on the front. We ordered a suspension program and set to measuring, marking, measuring some more, and finally cutting. After several combinations, and some peeking at a few dirt cars, moving the mounting points down to the frame itself appeared to be the way to go, and the program confirmed our hunch. With loads of camber gain and a generous amount of caster adjustability, this setup looks on paper and at the drag strip to be very effective. We'll find out for sure once the drag racing bug subsides and we get some fat sticky tires strapped on all four corners.
Aftermarket lowers were a considerat, but for both street durability (we've put over 2,000 miles on the car as of May 2011) and budget considerations, we did added some bracing to the stock ones, threw in a set of steel bushings, and called it a day. Wilwood 12" discs were bolted up and all new Moog steering hardware tacked on, and we finally dropped it to the ground. Two years of work suddenly had quite a bit of attitude, and big smiles were had for several days afterward.